Why do we wait

I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to wait for things. When I have an idea I like to take action on it right away in most cases. From doing something around the house, to working with customers, to my fitness program I tend to action things quickly.

But sometimes procrastination sets in on things I’d rather not procrastinate on. While I don’t consider myself to be procrastinator, I’ve certainly done it from time to time. I’ve heard there are three primary reasons people procrastinate and I’d tend to from what I’ve experienced.

The first one is the fear of failure. Then there is the fear of success, which is harder to overcome than a fear of failure oftentimes. Then there is overwhelm. Overwhelm about how to solve or action a large goal, project or idea. Let’s take a quick look at these three.

First, the fear of failure. We can all be reluctant to “fail” at something as we primarily “fear” peoples reaction to our shortcomings. We fear the rejection it will bring, and the credibility hit we’ll take by being unsuccessful at something. In short, it highlights our weakness.

Is this real? Is it true that we’ll suffer as much as we think we will if we go forth and indeed fail? No. Our imagination of how bad it will be, in most cases far outclasses how bad it will actually be. I’ve had my share of “failures” and I don’t feel bad about any of them anymore. I’ve learned a TON of lessons from the times I’ve tried and come up short, and this learning experience of DOING has been worth every perceived set back. I don’t even consider it failing anymore, as I learn the lessons and apply them going forward.

Should we fear failure? No. Is it uncomfortable and part of the growth process. Absolutely. Anybody who’s ever accomplished anything has their roots planted firmly in the failures that led to success.

How about the fear of success? Another very prominent fear which seems illogical but is indeed very real. We fear the loss of our comfort zone, the reaction of friends and loved ones, jealously and perhaps being “better” than those people in our lives currently.

Is it true that if you become successful at your endeavor that you’ll be better than those around you? No. We’re all different, and success or failure doesn’t make one person better than another, simply at different points on their own paths.

Is it true that friends and loved ones may try and hold you back, to keep you “down” where you are. Yes, it may happen and often does. Will they dis-own you for succeeding anyway? Some may. Those who matter will never leave your side. This is actually a great way to identify who truly cares about you and who’s willing to support you. I say it’s better to clear the air every so often and see who’s moving forward with you.

How about this last hurdle, overwhelm. Overwhelm is one of those we can plan to move around/through but can sneak it’s way back into our best laid plans. Trying to write a book start a business, lose 50 pounds, save 6 months worth of reserve funding… ?

All these things have one foundational thing in common. They all take time, and will require persistent commitment over time to accomplish. What happens when we make these longer term goals? It sounds great, we make a plan and are all excited and we move forward. Then after a few days to a week we are back in our daily lives and we’ve realized there is SO MUCH to do and we just aren’t sure what to do next.

We quickly become overwhelmed between our daily existence and the though of all that has to happen to start the business, all the words which have to be typed to create the book, all those salads we have to eat to lose the weight, all those nights out we won’t enjoy as we save money… it’s all just too much. “Tomorrow I’ll get back to it” we say…. except most of us know how this ends.

Getting over the fear of failure/success is fairly easy as it’s essentially moving past our comfort zone and continuing on our path. It’s uncomfortable at first but once we make the mental shift we can keep moving.

Overwhelm is something much more insidious; though this too can be overcome by a tried and true practice. Going back to one of life’s great concepts, simplicity is key. Small victories as I like to call them. Creating small actionable steps for the process which you can check off a list and celebrate the accomplishment of attaining each of these victories.

Trying to start a business? Start with the customer profiled. That’s it. One step. Then go to the mission statement, then a company name, then find the website platform… each of these items seems small but are very important steps in creating a company. And there are a 1,000 more where these came from.

Do you have to map it all out before you start? No. Please for the love of yourself don’t.

Once you move through the first 5-8 steps, create a new 5-8 step list and continue your path. Celebrate each step in a way that is in accordance with the victory. Some wins are much bigger than others, so manage your rewards accordingly based upon what you enjoy.

Trying to lose 50 lbs? Try losing 2 first. Then another 3. Once your down 5, can you make it 8? Each day is a new day to challenge yourself. It’s not about losing 50, it’s about losing 1, then 1 more. That’s it. Simplicity.

Most things in life can be done if done consistently and persistently. Fitness, business, health, relationships… be consistent and persistent, and you’ll experience powerful results.

There is no “there” to get to. Embrace the journey.

A Sign of the times

We’ve all heard of the importance of being present, living “in the moment”. I imagine it would be hard to find somebody to argue about the merits of being present in our daily lives. I imagine this is a concept which understood and accepted by a vast majority of people.

Yet put into practice, how many of us actually apply the knowledge we have? The old axiom that “knowledge is power” isn’t quite accurate. “USE of knowledge, is power”. Knowledge on it’s own is useless unless acted upon.

Think back on your day today for instance. Have you been present and engaged in each and every moment? In each interaction with people, fully tuned in to what the other person(s) are expressing verbally and non-verbally? While alone are you focused on your immediate surrounding and circumstance, or perhaps your thoughts have roamed to something, or somebody else?

Being present more often is a practice and aiming for perfection will ultimately lead to failure in most cases. We are complex beings with a lot of layers to our being. There isn’t a single thing we can do which will make us “good” or “bad” people. We are a sum of our parts, a compilation of moments and our choices, actions and outcomes form the painting of our lives.

As we practice being focused on each moment and making a choice, taking action based upon the knowledge we have to use, often we’ll make a choice with a positive outcome.

When we are worried or fearful of what the future may hold, of what someone will think about us, of what we could “lose” we tend to action our thoughts in fear, which isn’t based on anything in the present moment.

Being present and focused removes fear and worry by the nature of it. If you are present, you are not worried about the future. You are not worried about what others might think. You are not worried about success or failure. You are focused on what you perceive to be the world, at that moment. In short, removing the “noise” from our thought process brings us to intuitive thought.

When we act intuitively I can assure you this does not always mean comfortably.

It can be difficult and downright scary to go through the process and see the result of your choices come to fruition.

I’ve also seldom been wrong when I choose intuitively and act on the choice, no matter how difficult or daunting.

We are a sum of our thoughts, deeds and actions. We won’t always be winning, nor losing. We won’t always be right, or wrong. We don’t always be at the top of the mountain, nor buried at the bottom.

The more instances we can live presently in the moment, the more peace we will ultimately find within ourselves. It’s not about being 100% every day. It’s about the choice you make right this moment. That’s all that matters. Then repeat.

Being Peaceful within the storm.

I am a big fan of simple. There is all too much complexity for the sake of it in life and I for one have diligently worked to eliminate as much complexity from my day as I can.

From dieting, workout routines and self-help books/podcasts to business books and money management there are a billion directions you can go. How many of these promise to be the “one thing you need!” or the “top tens ways to kick-ass everyday!” (in one form or another).

Don’t get me wrong, most of these all contain quality material and is based on knowledge and experience, I’m all for different avenues we all resonate with different approaches.

If though you have a problem and are looking for one book, one podcast, one person to fix your issue(s) you likely won’t find it. More often than not, the issue(s) your trying to fix isn’t actually the root cause of the problem.

Most of us don’t actually know what we want, even when we REALLY, REALLY WANT IT!

With all the noise in our lives it’s hard to remember what’s truly important. Honestly, it’s not a whole lot, but it is everything. Family, loved ones, adding value to those around you, being a good example for your children and neighbors, what impact you will leave once your gone, these things matter. The house, the car, the money, the status, the ego… none of this matters at the end of the day.

I have been on a mission for the past decade to find peace in my life. For the hundreds of books I’ve ready, the thousands of hours of listening I’ve done I’ve come to one simple conclusion.

God is what matters. Finding God and creating an active relationship with God has been the most powerful and impactful thing I’ve ever done. This coming from somebody who dropped out of confirmation class as a teenager and not currently involved in any organized religion.

If you have struggled to find peace in yourself, if you have found “success” in life but still have a hole growing within you, here’s the good news. You don’t need to ready a library worth of books to figure it out and apply a hundred different practices within your day.

Simply turn to God, in your own time and way. There is no one-size-fits all spiritualism or religion. How I communicate with God is my own, and I have learned how to do this in a way which works in my life and fuels me when this little world of ours goes sideways.

When I am faced with challenges I don’t know how to cope with, I used to strategize, plan and stress myself out over the ways to overcome it. These days, I take a step back and thank God for the opportunity to practice my faith, and the challenge resolves itself.

Simple. Powerful. Peaceful.

This isn’t to say my life is perfect and everything is great all the time. As a father, a husband, a business owner and athlete I can assure you I have my share of challenges and “WTF” events. It’s my approach to get things back on track which has changed, and life is better for it.

If this resonates in some way and you’re not sure where to start or why it resonates, let me know. God is always there, especially in those moments we feel most alone. Shift your perspective and you’ll find him if you haven’t yet.

A gift to receive.

If you’re anything like me you’re well versed in the arena of being the Giver. From the school of it’s better to give than to receive. If fact many of us have been so trained to give, that we don’t know how to receive.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a hard time accepting a compliment comfortably. It’s always an awkward moment when someone offers a compliment, let alone a gift or help. I have always considered myself to be the complimenter, the giver, the helper.

I’ve never taken time to understand the importance learning how to receive gracefully. Indeed this is as important as the giving is. It’s the yin and the yang, the left and the right, the up and down. The giving, and receiving is all one thing, balancing each other out.

I’m very spiritual and recently this topic of receipt came up for me and had me thinking. How often I meditate and pray for things I already have, yet haven’t allowed myself to receive the very thing I’m in search of.

While I practice being present in each moment, I have several tools I use to keep myself centered and focused in most instances. I find myself being present in the moment, while also keeping an eye to the future for those things I want.

A few examples of this, is the current house search I am on for a larger house for my family. Yet I have a great house, in a great neighborhood, and even good neighbors! Yet I discount much of this. I pay lip service to being grateful for it, I act like I am in gratitude for my home as it is.

Yet I find I have not allowed myself to receive the gift my home truly is. It’s shelter for my family, a roof over our heads, coolness in the summer, heat in the winter, and dry in the rain. A space we have created countless memories and shared love, laughs, tears and all the emotions a family imparts together. It’s all I could ever desire from a home.

Another example is my health, both physically and mentally. I am in the best health of my life right now, in this moment. And while I am grateful for this, I understand fully how far I have come. I also know how far I have to go… The path is long, and I am on the journey, far from complete.

As I mentioned I am grateful for all the blessings I have, there are many. Yet when given a simple compliment I have a hard time trying to respond, I don’t know what to do.

I realized my inability to accept a compliment was so much deeper than originally thought. I had spent all my time on the “give”, never wanting to be selfish and “get”.

I am all for balance in life, yet this was a blind-spot I noticed within me. Giving is hugely important and should be done generously in all mediums.

Learning how to gracefully receive is a deep lesson which will bring as much peace as giving. If someone is giving to you, you’ve probably earned it in some way. Even if you haven’t “earned” it, you are the recipient of another persons “give”. It’s OK to accept and be gracious and humbled in receipt.

If you ever find yourself praying/meditating for love, be sure to receive the love you already have. If you find yourself praying for money, gratefully receive the money you already have. If you’re not in a relationship but wish to be, receive the relationship you have with yourself first.

Being grateful for something, and receiving it are not one in the same. I didn’t know there was a difference for a long time. There is always a balance in this universe, love and hate, joy and despair, light and dark.

Nothing exists without it’s opposite and all are needed. Giving and receiving are not opposites in this case and compliment each other like salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly when done without ego or pride.

The next time you find yourself in receipt of a compliment or gift, pay attention to your natural response. If you’re the “no, I couldn’t accept that…” type like me, take a swing at simply accepting and saying “Thank you”.

It’s the thought that counts

I’ve come to a point in my life where often-times things are humming along smoothly in just about all aspects of my life. We all wear many hats, as parents, spouses, kids, siblings, bosses, employees, co-workers, customers, vendors, friends… humans…

In each of these aspects there are a range of things which happen, a range of life which transpires and completes the “picture” of our life as we perceive it. These aspects include our mental and physical health, financial health, self-care and ability to relate and create in the world around us.

For some people this matrix of life is a myriad of issues and problems stacked upon each other. For others these pieces of the puzzle come together naturally. I’ve worked for several years to align these aspects of my life. Some have been good for as long as I can remember, others I’ve had to (and continue to) work diligently every day to create a flow.

One thing I have learned, is when something is out of alignment it sticks out like a sore thumb. An easy way to bring it into place is to intentionally focus on a given item. Recently my family has gone to a single income as we take a step back to move a few steps forward.

Removing a full-time income as summer comes up and summer camp kicks in, while we’re experiencing record high gas prices and inflation, is a scary endeavor. There are a lot of reasons I can find why we should do this now, why it’s safer to hold off until the world stabilizes.

The truth is, the world is always changing, and will always be influx. What we believe, will be reality. Initially I wanted to find all the reasons why we need a second income (if you’ve ever paid for summer camp for kids, it’s like having a second mortgage!).

Instead of staying in this fear based thinking, I changed my thought on the concept. I removed the emotion from the process and went through the bills, the budget and realized there are a lot of things I can easily adjust and make this work. As a family we can adapt to a fiscally tighter space for a time, and honestly really not notice what we’re “missing”.

This is but one simplified example and the over-arching concept is powerful. Whenever and where-ever you experience lack and/or fear in life, it is an opportunity to re-evaluate the situation and change the narrative you are telling yourself.

Write down the area(s) you are struggling with and ask yourself why this is a struggle. Think about how you can change the story in your mind, what would a better outcome look like? If you need more money, what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve it? If you need more love, how much love are you willing to give?

When we change our thoughts, we change our actions. When we change our actions we change our habits. Be the change you wish to see, act it out everyday. It all starts with what you are thinking in this moment. Like it or not, the state of our lives is a direct reflection on the state of our thoughts.

Be the awesome in your own story!

Love is always in the air…

In the fourth installment and fourth tool you can use to upgrade your thoughts, I offer the most powerful one yet.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s what I choose to focus on, but have you noticed how the “love” word is thrown around these days like unnecessary loose change? It’s easy to “love” things these days, from the hearts we tap on social media to telling your kids you love them, and everything in between.

“Love” can certainly be cliche’ these days, an overused term which has lost much of it’s true meaning to many people. The Love I speak about isn’t a heart on social media or a quick “love you!, smooches!!” to your gym acquaintance.

The Love I speak about creates a warming, calming, powerful feeling in the center of your chest. It’s a feeling I can conjure on demand at this stage in my life, when I center myself and focus on my connection to God, Source, universal entanglement.

The Love I speak of is a deeply spiritual energy which permeates my being and releases itself to my surroundings as quickly as I absorb it in. Creating this feeling takes time, practice, patience and more patience with practice…. Learning to truly be grateful for gifts currently in your life, and FEELING the blessing of these gifts.

If you’ve felt it, you know what I’m talking about, even if it was only once for a fleeting moment. If you’ve never felt this, you may well think I’m nuts, or making it up. I spent most of my adult life not feeling this, and only in the most powerful moments of life did I experience a sensation close to it.

The feeling I had when I was first married, when each of my daughters was held in my arms for the first time, in those rare instances when I catch the eye of my wife in just the right light, with the right energy. I spent most of my life voided of this feeling of Love and only in those rare instances did I feel this “strange” emotion I briefly described earlier.

Yet, Love and it’s power is within you and available to be unleashed should you choose. This may be the most powerful tool at our disposal. Once we learn to Love, and sit in the feeling of Love can we begin to fully engage in being in the moment, living in the now.

Taken a step further, learning to Love during every part of our day is where the rubber meets the road. From getting up in the morning, to doing laundry, creating reports at the office, sitting in traffic on the way to the office. Love is found when taking out the garbage, washing the car and even during an argument with you spouse, child or co-worker.

My youngest daughter has the assignment of vacuuming the house. The other day I asked her to vacuum and she griped she had just vacuumed two days ago!! Why does she have to do it again? It’s such a chore! I smiled at her and asked if she preferred to live in a place which didn’t have a floor which needed vacuuming.

Perhaps dirt floor hovel would be easier to care for. Perhaps we wouldn’t need to do the laundry if we had no clothes. If we didn’t have food to eat, we wouldn’t ever have to worry about cleaning the kitchen or emptying the dishwasher!

“Fine. Now your just guilt-tripping me!” declared my nine year old daughter as she went to grab the high powered, cordless vacuum. If only she had to use a vacuum with a cord… the horror!

The bottom line is this. Love is in our life, right now in this moment. I don’t care what’s happening this moment, how down you feel or how the world has been cruel. Love is in your life, in this very moment. Choosing to focus on the blessings, the daily miracles we experience yet often never realize.

I challenge you to find love in everything you do for a week straight. If you can’t find something to love about it, perhaps that aspect of your life should be changed or removed.

Will you answer the call:

Many of us have a practice which we use to realign ourselves. Each of us has various ways of doing this, many go to church on Sundays, many mediation, often people do both. Some of us find our peace through fitness, or pottery, or a hobby of some kind.

There are a thousand ways people can find their “center”, their time when we are peaceful with ourselves and the world. We find our peace through the storm of the world, and it’s our reprieve from the madness which seems to surround us.

What if we could find this peace in the context of our everyday activities? What if we could operate at the office, interact with people with an under current of calm confidence, even in the most tense of times?

When the kids are running around, the phone is ringing, the customers are looking for answers, the bosses are asking for the reports, the deadlines are coming fast. All of this can be overwhelming and often it is.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Over my last several posts I’ve been talking about tools we can use in daily life to reframe the world we experience. To adjust our perspectives a bit. These tools are designed to be used within daily life.

While I’ve touched on three of four of these tools so far, (fourth coming soon) I have outlined and overviewed each of them. I am putting together a deep dive on each one and how it applies to different areas of our lives.

How can we apply these tools within our career, home, family, relationships with others, and ourselves. I need your help. If you are reading this, then YOU are who I am talking to.

I have used these tools within my own life to create a consistent peace, harmony and balance within all areas of my life. This sense has helped me take on challenges I would’ve thought impossible in the past. I know they work, because I experience the results and have done the work.

I need your feedback to ensure I focus on what will be most impactful, powerful for YOU. I am designing a program which will enable powerful results within the areas of life which you apply the tools.

For those who respond, I am working on a gift/thank you for your time which I truly value. Please copy and past the below questions into an email (or word doc if you prefer) and email your responses to me directly at: roger@powerfullifeinc.com.

There are no right or wrongs, good or bad. Quick answers, the first thing which comes to mind are ideal instead of long thought responses. Thank you for your participation!

Fast Forward 6 months, what would you like to be different about your life?

Please rate these five areas in life, (5) being strongest (best) and (1) being the weakest: Mental health, physical health, career, relationships, finances.

What are your top 3 goals?

Why do you want to achieve these goals?

How will accomplishing these goals change your life?

What is currently in the way of achieving your goals?

What are common situations which derail you?

When you fail, what is the thought or phrase which runs through your mind?

What are you afraid will happen if you don’t reach your goals?

What do you want out of a program which helps you achieve your goals?

Do you want me to reach out when I put the program together?

I look forward to putting this together with you, and I’m excited for the results we’ll deliver!

It’s not you, it’s me.

The third edition or tool in this blog series is understanding nearly all our interactions are not personal, meaning it’s not about US, it’s usually about the other person.

This practice can help you reframe context in the moment and shift your perspective instantly. Practicing this can elevate your communication skills at home, work and your social life.

There are a few things to consider as a baseline for this tool. Firstly, if you look at a road map it can give you a good idea of where you are, or where you want to go from a routing standpoint, which streets to take and direction to go. A map though will not tell you where the pot-holes are, or stop signs, or “no left turn”, or “one-way” roads.

A map will give you guidance, but the terrain is a much different animal. Our perspectives on life are very much the same. Many of us have heard the axiom “perception is reality”. This is true as far as the individual who is doing the perceiving.

When we are communicating with others, our thoughts and perceptions are very different from theirs, even with friends and loved ones. We may see eye to eye on most things, but you’ll notice a few areas where you an even your closest relation have differing opinions.

Understanding people have very different perceptions than our own, and that “perception is reality”, we can see how a simple mis-understanding, or saying something a certain way can trigger us or the other party.

When we trigger somebody in this way, it has nothing to do with us and is a chance for us to learn a touch point, and gain further insight into the reaction. More on this on another day.

If we are triggered by something, then we have an opportunity to learn a touch point about ourselves, and we get to work on healing it. We get to see where we can grow mentally in these areas as they are highlighted to us.

Another baseline concept is that people are always making the best choices available to them, at that moment. People want to be good, and often they do what is perceived to be the best thing for them even when it’s at the expense of someone/something else.

Ever wonder why that co-worker threw you under the bus with the boss? It wasn’t about you, it was about them advancing their own agenda.

Lastly, the mirror effect is a well known concept which can be a tough one to accept for many. Essentially, what we see in this world is a mirror of what we are giving, putting out into the world. Imagine if all you see is sickness, misery and a world falling apart? That’s a hard pill to swallow and accept it’s not the world who’s crumbling, but you.

The mirror effect though is a real thing. This isn’t to say it’s fair, nice, considerate or compassionate to your circumstances. It can be magical, it can also be brutal. The good news is we have a choice in the matter.

What we experience from other people is a mirror of what we are displaying. It’s never about how we’re being treated as much as it is how we are treating others. It’s not personal FROM others to us, though it is entirely personal from us TO others. This brings us back to perspective. A nice clean circle.

When we are being treated, or experiencing things we don’t like we have to look inward to ourselves first.

The world we live in, the perspective we have, the live we create is entirely up to us and only us to adapt as we choose. When we allow ourselves to be persecuted, attacked, and get down on ourselves and our surroundings we will simply have more of this.

When we realize the world is doing what the world does, and people are doing what people do, and it will all happen whether we are here to experience it or not.

If you’ve ever missed an event you were invited to, a birthday, a recital, a wedding, a baseball game, you name it. The even still happened even if you didn’t show up. That is the world we live in. It’s not personal unless we take it personally, which all to often many of us do.

Creating power in your life means taking ownership of everything you experience. If you don’t like it, find a way to change it. It’s not easy, but it is simple by design.

When you start to use these tools together inside of your daily life you will begin to see shifts in how things transpire. It doesn’t happen overnight, and this is a practice which will take time to learn, hone and improve upon.

Choosing to shift our thoughts is one thing. Consistently practicing over the long term to create lasting change in us, and therefore around us is another thing. The good news is the choices are ours, and when we regress we can always shift back on track again.

Stay tuned for part 4 of this series of tools to upgrade your thoughts.

Finding the good all around us.

As the old saying goes, life is often stranger than fiction. Most of us can relate to this through our experience, and these last few years have hammered this principle home!

There is a silver lining in all of it, where we experience bad, there is also good.

I firmly believe everything comes with a lesson, and if we can find it within us to learn the lesson, nothing is wasted. I will be the first to tell you, there are times where you simply won’t see or understand what good (or lesson) can possibly come from a situation.

I can also tell you in my experience, sometimes learning to deal with the pain of an event is the lesson. When we can resolve ourselves to stand in the harshest of times, we will be prepared for the next evolution in our life.

If you think of love and fear for a moment, I’ll provide an example of finding the good, the lesson in everything. Love and fear are two opposites of the same emotion. In fact, ALL of our emotions, the entire spectrum of what we feel stems from either love, or fear.

Pictures this, If this emotional spectrum was a line, a dot on the left side is fear, a line connects to another dot on the right which is love. Exactly where does love end and fear begin? At the halfway point you say? Now measure it, what emotion specifically is the zero point between the two?

On paper you can pinpoint a dot. In reality there isn’t a single emotion which separates the two, just a grey area which bleeds into each other. We all have a different opinion on this, a different emotional spectrum by which we judge it.

It’s the same thing with cold and hot, large and small, fresh and stale. All open for interpretation as to where cold becomes hot, large to small, fresh to stale.

Both sides of the spectrum must be present and accounted for in order for it to BE.

Now apply this concept back to life. If a thing happens and we perceive it to be bad, then by nature there has to be an opposite effect. We can’t have love without fear, or hot without cold. What I perceive to be bad is a blessing to another.

Using this simple tool in my everyday life I can shift my perspective on anything which happens around me. I can take the “bad” thing and try to understand the opposite of it, which is equally real.

When I can see the opposite, I can often learn the lesson and grow from the experience. When this happens, it’s no longer a “bad” thing but a blessing and needed event to teach me a lesson about something.

When I learn, I appreciate and stay in a focused and grateful state of mind. There is always good in the world, no matter how dark it may seem. While we don’t always have the ability to see the good in the moment, knowing it is there helps to light the way.

This is an important step in growing mentally and spiritually. The more we can practice this the more we see how this world works FOR us, instead of against us. No hustle and grind required.

A practice in presence

A simple and highly effective way to upgrade your thoughts, part 2.

Following up on my last blog post, this is the first of four follow up posts diving just a bit deeper into a few concepts. These four protocols as I have come to know them are simple, proven concepts and when applied individually yield great results. Though when used in concert with each other, consistently the results can be truly powerful.

I’m going to focus today on being present in each moment. We’ve all heard this before, and the idea of being present in the moment has been a topic as far back into history as we can find. It’s for good reason too. The best things always stand the test of time. The best things are often also simple in concept and powerful in result, yet not always easy in practice.

I’m going to focus on the practice part today instead of the value behind being present, you’re probably aware already of the benefits of being present. However, to give a similar example between of the difference between knowledge and practice, just because you understand how an airplane flies, doesn’t mean you can actually fly one.

Why is it so hard to be present, and in the moment? For one our society basically programs us to be anything and everything BUT present. We’re taught to worry about the future and plan for what’s to come. Think about the concept of retirement, work your whole life so you can spend a few quality years of “enjoyment” at the tail end of life. The entire idea is rooted in future tense.

Advertisements bombard us from billboards, to online ads, print, TV commercials etc. of things we need to have to be happy. Social media is a another platform(s) which by it’s nature creates a thought pattern of comparing ourselves to others, of wanting to have what the “influencers” have, be it a rockin’ body, a custom car, or the latest fashion or the new vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soyless, what-cha-ma-call-it-but-its-not-meat-substitute!

All of this and we still haven’t walked out the door and interacted with people yet!

Our brains are moving a billion miles an hour, slowing them down, even for a short time takes patience and practice. Even when we do slow them down we tend to still think about all the things we should be doing, want to do, forgot to do, etc…

Now I ask you to notice the thought(s) you are having right this moment.

Stop reading and notice if you are only reading this, or if you are reading this while thinking of something else. Notice what is going through your mind in this moment, without judgment of good, bad, simply notice it and be ok with whatever it is.

I am going to challenge you to practice something for one day. Once you do this for one day I ask you do it for two, then three, then four, all the way to ten days, one day at a time.

Pick a thing you do each day, for instance driving to/from work. Pick something where you have a defined period of time allocated each day, and take a five minute chunk of that time and dedicate it to noticing what is going on around you, and nothing else.

When you first try this, and realize in less than a full minute your mind has already moved on to something else, notice you are thinking of something else and bring yourself back to what you area doing at that moment. DO NOT JUDGE yourself or be harsh, simply notice the mind wandering and come back to what you are doing. Peacefully and calmly.

Even when your mind wanders 30 times in a 5 minute span, simply notice it and come back. Judging yourself for a wandering is counter-productive. If you do reactionarily judge yourself, notice this too, notice the act of judging yourself. Notice it for what it is, a reactionary emotion which is neither good nor bad in this moment.

I like to do this while driving because I can turn off the radio and it also helps me release my judgement of how others drive, which gives me a much calmer and more peaceful trip to the office and back. The idea though is to pick a segment of time, the same time (roughly) and activity everyday to practice noticing your thoughts.

This will help build consistency and a habit of doing this while you do the activity everyday. This won’t be as easy as it sounds, and even if you think you “failed” at it don’t give up, it’s all the more reason to keep trying. Practicing a thing means you will get it wrong, alot, before you start to get it right.

Notice, without judgement your thoughts. While you are practicing being “in the moment” focus on the smells you are smelling, what you are feeling physically (like the material of the seat, steering wheel, clothing) and what you are feeling emotionally.

Are you happy, sad, frustrated, joyous, something else altogether? Notice the scenery around you and the details of it. If you’re driving you can notice the other cars around you, how is the traffic flowing together, or is it stop and go? What kind of cars are travelling with you?

If you’ve taken note of all these things and then simply sit with the feeling you are having, the emotion you are experiencing. Feel it, breathe it, welcome it.

The simple act of noticing our immediate environment is the best way to begin the process of presence. Soon, you will find yourself in a conversation with something totally engaged with this person or persons and thinking of nothing but the person in front of you.

This is easy with an “important” person. It’s more difficult when you find yourself interrupted unexpectedly by someone who you want to blow off, but now you notice your desire to blow them off, and instead of reacting on this desire, you engage with them wholly.

This is where the miracles of life happen, in the most unexpected places, and they happen often when we are paying attention.

I’d like to hear from you on how your practice is going, I invite you to send me a note directly at roger@powerfullifeinc.com to tell me about your experience with this.

Stay tuned for the next installment, which will focus on finding the good in any event.